On April 1, 2013, the Village Board of Oak Park voted unanimously to adopt its first water conservation and efficiency plan. The plan focuses on water supply issues with the goal of increasing water efficiency and promoting water conservation within village operations and among Oak Park residents and businesses. The plan was developed using a community-based process and could be used as a model for other communities in our region with similar water supply issues.
The Village of Oak Park is located in eastern Cook County, bordered by Chicago to the north and east; River Forest and Forest Park to the west; and Berwyn to the south. The village encompasses 4.5 square miles with a current population of 51,878. Oak Park purchases Lake Michigan water from the City of Chicago. For 2012, Oak Park's average day usage was 5.143 MGD (million gallons per day) and currently uses 87 percent of their total Lake Michigan allocation. A main function of the plan is to lower this average day usage.
Previously, the village has engaged in various water-based programming including rain barrel and chemical-free lawn campaigns sponsored by their Environment & Energy Commission, as well as a water meter exchange program. A grant to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enabled CMAP staff to provide technical assistance to Oak Park and support the goals of GO TO 2040. Now, the Village of Oak Park stakeholders and staff will explore innovative opportunities to achieve water efficiency and implement conservation practices.